BREWER, Maine — A Brewer Community School first-grader is going through aggressive chemotherapy, but still has a smile on her face, according to her mother.
“She smiles every day, and she is so strong and so happy,” Lisa Przybylski said of her daughter Wynter.
Wynter’s battle started with sore muscles and back and stomach pain. Doctors and pediatricians thought it was just constipation, according to Wynter’s mother. But the symptoms got worse.
In late February, Wynter was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland after doctors in Bangor ran blood tests and an X-ray revealed she had cancer.
Wynter’s diagnosis was acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer. It attacks blood and bone marrow.
The little girl has undergone one round of chemotherapy, but it wasn’t effective. Now doctors are trying a more aggressive form of chemo. Wynter will need a bone marrow transplant, but that can’t be done until her cancer goes into remission, according to Wynter’s mother.
Life has been a “whirlwind of chaos” since the diagnosis, according to Lisa Przybylski. She and her husband have been granted leave from work to be with Wynter while she undergoes treatment. But without income, the co-pays, bills and other expenses are piling up, Lisa said.
During Wynter’s stay in an intensive care unit in Portland, the pain in her legs grew worse and she ultimately lost control of them. Surgeons removed a tumor from her spine, but she hasn’t been able to regain use of her legs.
Lisa Przybylski said her daughter will need adaptive equipment at some point, which likely will cost more money.
The family has set up a fundraising account on YouCaring.com to help cover expenses stemming from Wynter’s continuing medical needs. As of Friday morning, just over $2,600 had been raised toward the goal of $4,500. The Web address is http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/cancer-messed-with-the-wrong-girl/154540.
Other members of the community have launched efforts to help.
Brewer Dairy Queen has offered to donate 25 percent of its proceeds from Monday, April 14, to the Przybylskis. Brewer Parks and Recreation is hosting a bottle drive.
On May 9, a “ Zumbathon” is in the works to help raise money to cover the family’s medical expenses. The event will run 6-8 p.m. at the Brewer Auditorium. Organizers are accepting items to place in a silent auction during the Zumbathon. Any individuals or businesses who want to donate an item for the auction should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An account has been set up in Wynter’s name at Brewer Federal Credit Union. Brewer Parks and Recreation and Brewer Redemption Center are accepting returnables to raise money for Wynter.
A Raise Glasses to Wynter wine-tasting event is planned for 1-3 p.m. Sunday, April 27, at Bodies by Badger, 391 N. Main St. in Brewer. Twenty percent of all purchases made during the tasting will go toward Wynter’s medical expenses.
The Shriners are planning a spaghetti dinner and silent auction to be held on a yet-to-be-determined date.
Orange leukemia-awareness wristbands may be purchased at Brewer Community School. They read “Wynter shine on.”
“I am so thankful that we live in a community with so much support,” Lisa Przybylski said. “Every single day I am amazed by the work of so many people so inspired to help a family they barely know overcome tragedy.”